I Took Them Both… Two pathways to better running

Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood, and I…
I Took Them Both.

Two pathways to better running.
By Aaron Davis

Since I can remember I have been conditioned to make difficult decision and to stick with my choices.  When I was 2, it was either to gnaw on my thumb or the cat?  At the tender age of 10, it was the blonde Rachael or the brunette Brandy?  Even today with my running do I…

A. Focus on the long slow miles and improve endurance?


B. Focus on Strength Training and Faster running to improve power?

Decisions…decisions, but, since the age of 2 one thing has remained constant in my life.  My ability to choose both!  Now, would I suggest this attitude for everyday life?  No, but for your running?  I would say “yes” a million times over.  It may be the one decision that defines your running, helps the miles go by faster, and keeps you injury free.

The Two Paths

In the sport of running there are two ways to improve, either Endurance or Power.  Endurance, the focus is extension, i.e. running more miles, and running those miles faster.   While on the Power side we want to generate more force with each step, while making each step more efficient.

Today in the running community the primary focus has been improving all aspects of Endurance with little attention paid to the Power end of the spectrum.

In my best Johnny Castle impression from Dirty Dancing I say, “No one puts Baby in a corner!”

Working on Power, year round, will not only make you faster but could help you stay injury free.

Don’t Say Dirty Words

“I haven’t started Speed Work yet.”

Ah…that hurt to write.  In Fact it’s even hard to look at, but unfortunately I hear it all the time.  It is a common phrase most runners use to explain their training.  Why is it Dirty you might ask?  Here is my simple line of thinking on the subject…

“Repetition is the mother of learning.”

I am a firm believer in whatever you repeat your body will adapt to.  If you eat a lot of McDonald’s you will one day look like the Grimace.

If you run a lot of slow miles you will inevitably turn into a slow runner!

So we must always work on “Speed”.

Don’t get me wrong you always need a good base of miles, but the body loves variety.  Mix it up!  You wouldn’t eat PB&J’s all day, every day.  So don’t do it to your running.

Twice a Week will keep the Slow Running Away

An easy protocol to follow is to incorporate Hill Sprints into your weekly training.  All you need is a Hill 100m in distance and perform the workout below.

Hill Sprint Workout.  (Perform after easy Endurance running twice a week)

6-10 x 10 sec Max Up Hill Sprints with 3 minute walking recovery.

It’s an easy workout that will improve the following in 3 to 6 weeks…

  • Force Production
  • Strength
  • Efficiency  (Reduce Energy expenditure and injuries)
  • Slower paces will feel easier
  • Improvement in Running Technique (Correcting Over-Striding)
  • Faster times

Make a conscious decision to train Power and Endurance. It will make all the difference.